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Letterman Used Power For Sex -- Surprised?

Okay, so let me first admit my bias. I've always thought David Letterman was funnier than Jay Leno. His humor had less reliance on sight gags and was more nuanced and intelligent than Leno's and, to an extent, Carson's, who is one of the greatest in my books.

That said, I'm not so biased as to give Letterman a pass on his past "indiscretions" with female staffers. But surprised? You'd have to have lived in a yert to have been surprised by his actions.

Powerful men use or trade power (and wealth) all the time to get sex, especially if they're, well, unsightly. I'm no beauty queen, but let's face it -- David Letterman is far from gorgeous. I'm talking light years from handsome. But for his height, Middle Earth would have called CBS and asked them to return their missing hobbit. I'd hazard to guess that but for the power of his celebrity and position of authority as a boss, for years he'd have been taking matters into his right hand with a jar of Vaseline beside him, if you know what I mean.

So am I surprised that he used his power as a boss and a celebrity to get laid? Not at all. Happens every day, in workplaces large and small. Power gets traded for sex so much, in the workplace and outside of it, that there ought to be a formal exchange for it, like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange or NASDAQ.

Do you think Monica Lewinsky would have even bothered with Bill Clinton if he had been a middle-aged, mid-level manager at IBM with a scratchy, twanged voice? Would Donna Rice have bothered with Gary Hart but for his political power? Would any woman in her right mind put up with the pomposity of Donald Trump if he were just a working-class construction foreman with a bad combover? I don't think so. I doubt that Jesse Jackson, John Edwards (cute as he is), Eliot Spitzer, Newt Gingrich and the like would have had half the success they've had getting women, sometimes in addition to their wives, but for the power they possess or possessed. C'mon -- if you had seen Eliot Spitzer walking down the street before he was powerful, would you have said to yourself, "There goes my dream boat!" ? I don't think so. More like, "That dude so needs a tan."

What's surprising is that, in this age of so-called women's liberation and empowerment, we women are willing to trade ourselves so easily for something that can slip from a man's hands in the blink of an eye. It takes two to do the horizontal mambo, at least willingly. Given all the legal protections in place against sexual harassment in the workplace, are the women who bumped uglies with Letterman powerless victims or willing participants who were attempting to advance their own careers? Unless somebody sues him, we'll probably never know. It all just has such an ick factor to me.

I never really watched Letterman on a consistent basis after he went to CBS. Now, I just don't want to.


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